The BEST Boy’s Birthday Themes (by age)

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Finding an adorable birthday theme for your little guy is sometimes a challenge.  After all, there are SO many to choose from!  And who doesn’t want something super cute?! But also something kinda fun, not too babyish, but not too big-boyish either, right?  (They’re only little for so long). Oh, and some kind of theme that allows for lots of cute, Pinterest-inspired matching items. But not those difficult Pinterest things that require months of hunting down very specific items and days spent burning your fingers with hot glue guns.

So in short… a theme that’s super cute, really easy, and looks like you spent months preparing it all (but didn’t).  Yeah, I hear you.  I’ve been there. And we have you covered.   Here’s a super simple “cheat sheet” of all our favorite (and best selling) boy’s birthday parties by age.  You’re welcome.

  1. The “BIG ONE” and the “WILD ONE”

The WILD ONE … And what little soon-to-be-ONE year old isn’t?  This is the PERFECT theme for that wild little guy constantly on a crazy adventure (one that I’m guessing keeps you up at night). This is one of my favorites, and it includes the cutest design elements stocked full of tepees and arrows and is completely on trend for today.  Plus, the colors are stunning and super easy to match. For even more ideas and matching options, check out the Pinterest board. And if you missed the first birthday, it’s also available in a “TWO Wild” theme as well!

The ever-popular BIG ONE is always a huge hit!  Simple and classic with mixing and matching green and blue patterns.  This theme comes with TONS of different coordinating items, so you’re covered.  And the easy part? It’s super cute paired with blue or lime green polka dots or stripes.  Or maybe both.  Easy peasy.   Plus, it comes in a variety of colors. You have a completely pulled-together instant party without lots of time and energy. And that’s important when you have a one year old.  You can spend those extra few hours (or minutes) trying to grab some additional sleep.

2.  Honk! Honk! Beep! Beep! Coming Through! Look who’s turning TWO!

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I designed this theme a few years back for my oldest when he turned two.  He actually loved ALL things that moved, and so “we” had trouble deciding on just one.  One truck.  Or one airplane.  We couldn’t do it, so I set to work designing a theme that incorporated them ALL.  Of course, they had to be included in a way that made sense and using his name was the perfect fit!  It was also a time when he was learning his name and starting to recognize capital letters, so it was super exciting for him to recognize the letters in his name and the vehicles that went with them.  And that alone made it the most perfect birthday theme.  And it has become one of our most popular birthday boy themes ever (with the cutest matching chalkboard poster – if I do say so myself).

 

3. Cheerio!  Look who’s THREE, and ready to Party!

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Honestly, what could more adorable than these three London guards?!  I LOVE this party theme because it’s so unique.  And my three year old loved it because there were soldiers… lots of soldiers and a cute little bird sitting on one of their hats.  Red and black stripes are very easy to coordinate, and honestly, these adorable guards stand on their own anyway.  Oddly enough, most of my clients that use this theme actually live in London.  (And if you want the how-to scoop on this adorable cupcake, check out this earlier post).

 

4. ROAR!  Look who’s turning FOUR!

ROAR Dinosaur Birthday Chalkboard Poster by Oodles and Doodles, OandD

Every little boy needs a dinosaur party at least once in their life, and this is the one!  Navy, turquoise and lime green are by far my favorite boy colors.  Finding matching party items (plates, utensils, balloons, streamers, etc) is a dream, and the colors are bright and bold enough to dress up any house or event room.  Plus, your birthday boy gets to have a DINOSAUR DIG!  What more can you want?  And if you’re like me and have to throw parties in the cold winter months, you can convert your outside digging-for-dinosaur-bones-in-sand activity to searching for dinosaur crayons in plastic eggs inside a giant blow-up pool filled with shredded paper.  I think it might be less messy.  It’s definitely more fun! For lots of photos and all the details, check out this post.

 

5. Foaming Formulas, Bubbling Beakers, Experiments that come ALIVE…. Look who’s turning FIVE!

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A mad scientist / chemistry party is always a big hit! And by this age, kids are old enough to do low-key experiments with minimal assistance.  Plus, add some caution signs, a bit of food coloring, topped off with a heaping spoonful of baking soda, and who doesn’t LOVE a good eruption?!  We used this theme for one of our kid’s 5th birthday, and upcycled cycled a TON of plastic produce containers and water bottles to use for experiments. Stay tuned on a full how-to post shortly!

 

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The Art of a Great (and super simple) Cupcake

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So I’m not much of a baker.  Well, not much of a cupcake baker.  And those beautiful frosting swirls?  Yep, can’t do it.  Don’t get me wrong – I have those little tools and the puffy pastry bag, but it just doesn’t happen.  Not for me.  And I’m fine with it because I can buy any generic grocery store cupcake and turn it into a perfect party dessert (in about five minutes).

So today on the blog, I’m sharing my secret.  It’s simple:

  1. Buy those grocery store/bakery cupcakes.  I won’t tell. (And for those of you who can actually bake a delicious cupcake… well.. I’m jealous).  For the rest of us, here’s a tip: pre-order.  Our local grocery store takes preorders, and will always honor my request for two different color frostings and any color sprinkles.  This makes a HUGE difference.  Do it.
  2. Pick up a package of adorable cupcake liners from any craft store, party store, or on Etsy.  I’m partial to polka dots or other bold designs.  Place the cupcakes right into the new liners (as is) a little bit before serving. Don’t do it too early because the pretty cupcake liners tend to spread out and loosen up over time.
  3. And lastly… add a printable cupcake topper!  Of course, I’m a little biased since I design cupcake toppers, but I’m amazed by how many people don’t use them or don’t know how to make them.  It’s super simple:
    1. Print the file on heavy white card stock (100 lb or more) from any color printer.  At Oodles and Doodles, they come formatted with 12 per page.
    2. Purchase short lollipop sticks from any craft store.  Make sure they’re the SHORT 4 inch ones, and not the super long (6 inch) ones.
    3. Grab a 2 inch round punch (really, they’re cheap and worth it) and punch out the circles.  (I design cupcake toppers as a circle inside of a square so you can always cut them out as squares as well.  But, to be very honest, it’s the circle that makes it).  Buy a punch.  They’re inexpensive and you’ll be shocked how many times you use it (favor bag labels, gift labels, etc).
    4. So here’s the easy part.  Once you have the toppers punched out all you have to do is glue or tape them on to the lollipop stick.  Lots of different methods work.  For those perfectionists, you can use a white dot sticker to tape the back so you won’t see any unsightly glue.  For me, I have a love affair with my glue gun and use that.  Quick and totally simple. (You can find these London Guard cupcake toppers and the whole matching party kit available here).
  4. Display them beautifully on a cupcake tower or platter.  I have one from Crate & Barrel that’s held up through many parties.  And for more easy display tips, check out this party decoration tips post.

And that’s it!  It’s an inexpensive party dessert that only takes a few minutes, but feels like it took hours.

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Photo Credit: Bridget Lynn Photography

Oh how time FLIES when you’re turning ONE!

It’s birthday season around here, and we kicked it off with the biggest one of all!  Our little guy just turned One and celebrated in style with an airplane-themed party designed just for him. Now, as you can probably imagine, birthday parties are a super big deal in our house.  Months of preparation,  lots of obsessing over little details, and lots of shopping go into it.  (And maybe, just maybe, lots of eye-rolling from my husband). So after all that thought, planning and hard work, I thought I would share some photos of the party … and more importantly some of my favorite party styling tips. But first, some photos of our little guy’s big day!  I can’t believe how fast the first year FLEW by!

And now on to all those creative Party Styling Tips:

1. Party Printables (and why I love them)

Of course, I love them!  After all, I spend a good amount of time designing them.  But, honestly, they’re the best.  Super easy, inexpensive, really versatile, you can print as many copies as you need…  Pretty much the only way to have a completely custom, pulled together, DIY party. For this particular party, I designed an airplane theme centered around how fast the first year flies by (because it does)!  And so my starting point was creating a sweet invitation with a photo collage on the back highlighting all of his milestones this past year.  Because, honestly, you never really tire of looking at baby photos of your own kids, do you?

2. Wrapping Paper as a Table Runner

Wrapping paper is one of my best kept secrets. Actually, come to think of it, I think it was my mother’s brilliant idea.  So here’s the great part about wrapping paper… it makes an awesome table runner.  It looks adorable, is super inexpensive, can be thrown out when the party is over (especially with all those little chocolate-covered fingers running around near the cake table), and can be used long after the party.. you know.. as wrapping paper.  Oh, and you can always wrap your child’s gifts in it and will get bonus points for being uber-coordinated.  Plus, I use wrapping paper all the time to line the inside of glass vases to make centerpieces, too. This is literally a tip that I use for every party I’ve ever thrown whether it’s in a house or a restaurant.  It’s so simple.  So here’s a photo of our son’s party with the wrapping paper (red and white polka dots) over a cheap blue plastic table-cloth.  And the best place to buy it?  Hobby Lobby at Christmas time.  They have the best, thickest paper.  (And most of my party kit designs include polka dots, so you can pretty much always find something to match).  The Container Store is a good bet too!

3. Pipe Cleaners to Decorate … pretty much everything!

Ok, so I’m slightly obsessed with pipe cleaners.  Remember in school, when you used to “curl” them around a pencil?  Yep.  That’s me.  Still doing that.  But now with my 4 year old.  He loves it too.  So I use pipe cleaners to decorate pretty much everything…  in centerpieces, on cake cutters, to tie favor bags, as extra decorations, you name it.

DSC_5366e with watermark DSC_5344e with wtrmrk First Birthday Boy's Airplane Party by Oodles and Doodles, OandD

4. Creative {adorable} Favors

I firmly believe you can’t have a great party without sending your guests home with a sweet little favor.  And so, this is usually one of those details that I obsess about for a long time trying to come up with the perfect, most creative idea.  And for this party, I hit the jackpot!  The most adorable printable suitcase favor box by Claudine Hellmuth.  I’m totally in love with these.  They are, of course, stuffed with hershey kisses in homage to our Chicago airport’s “kiss ‘n fly.”   Super adorable, simple, and inexpensive.  Each suitcase favor box is packaged in a clear bag, tied with a pipe cleaner and personalized favor tags from my Airplane Party Kit (along with a little extra flag in there too).  You can never have too many tags.  And, of course, there’s the perfect “Baggage Claim” sign from the kit to go with it all.

Boy's First Birthday Airplane Party

5. Not Just Water Bottle Labels 

Yup, those.  Now I have a ton of clients that never bother to use them.  Totally a mistake.  They can be used for lots of things!  First, of course, as actual water bottle wraps.  And here’s the tip for those: 1) don’t actually place on ice (they may run) and 2) print on Avery full sheet labels.  The entire page is sticky, so you can use it for any shape or size that you want and don’t have to worry about margins.  Genius.  Or, honestly, you can totally print them on white typing paper and glue the ends together.  It’s not exactly rocket science. But.. I use them all the time as wraps around vases.  Or, in this case, as wraps around some bar glasses to hold all my plastic utensils.  Of course you have to decorate those too!

Boy's Airplane Birthday Party by Oodles and Doodles, OandD DSC_5325e with wtrmrk

6. Digital (Scrapbook) Paper for Centerpiece Vases

This is another one of my favorite secrets.  Nearly every party kit that I design includes digital patterned paper.  And I don’t think most people know what to do with it.  It is the BEST!  First, it’s included in kits so it matches everything perfectly.  Next, you can print it just like normal and cut out any shape/size, etc. that you want (think: envelope liners, drink flags, cake bunting, back liners, etc).  But, my two favorite uses: 1) stringing multiple sheets together with cute ribbon and making a table runner out of it, and 2) lining centerpiece vases.  I think I pretty much use that trick at every party.  All you need is some cheap dollar store glass vases and a bit of creativity.  So here’s the centerpieces from this year…. matching digital paper printed and placed inside a glass vase, some shredded paper over a bit of styrofoam at the bottom of the vase, wooden dowel rods, cupcake toppers, an airplane graphic & ribbon.  You can find the super simple tutorial here.  Oh, and those Airplane party hats.  Those don’t really ever stay on little heads for very long, so why not use them as table decorations?

Boy's Airplane Birthday Party in Blue and Red by Oodles and Doodles, OandD

7. No Helium Required

You have to have balloons at a kid’s party.  That goes without saying.  BUT… I really despise having to go pick up helium balloons on the day of the party when I already have twenty million other things to do.  So this year I decided that I was going to skip the helium (but in no way sacrifice the decor).  And so I discovered balloon topiaries and balloon sticks.  Now, I always thought that balloon topiaries were beyond me.  I mean, I’m crafty but I have my limits… and I kinda assumed that was my limit.  Totally wrong on that!  So EASY! I mean so EASY!  You can find tons of tutorials online, but basically you just tie two balloons together, make a bunch of those, and then twist them all together into a ball.  (I know.. right… that should be way more complicated… ).  Apparently each topiary takes 12 balloons, but I was short, so the one in the photo is made of only 10.  Then I shoved a balloon stick in the bottom (found those at Hobby Lobby), and tada!  I’m making these for every party from now on.  I’ve finally found a decoration for those big urns outside our front door.  And, those balloon sticks completely fascinated all the kiddos since the outside balloons were finally at their height. And not one ounce of helium. Genius.

Kid's party decorations, balloon topiary for birthday, outdoor birthday decorations Birthday Party outdoor balloon decorations

Vendors:

Airplane Party Printables:  OandD Etsy Shop

Printable Suitcase Favor Box: Claudine Hellmuth

Smash Cake Photography: Carrianne Photography

Embroidered Birthday Hat: Dainty Couture

Our Little Noah’s Special Day….

Our sweet little boy, Noah, had his big Baptism day a few weeks ago.  But it all started many, many months earlier when I was pregnant with him.  Knowing that I would want a really special way to celebrate his christening, I got to work designing a Noah’s Ark Baptism theme all based on the most beautiful Noah’s Ark Music box that his big brother received on his Baptism day.  Little did I know at the time that I would end up having a little boy … and naming him Noah.  I guess some things are just meant to be.  The Baptism turned out beautifully, and the theme ended up being a perfect fit for our little one. I made up sweet and simple favors with a little turquoise grass on the bottom and lots of animal crackers.  How can you have a Noah’s Ark party without animal crackers?!

For centerpieces, I used one of my favorite tricks … dollar store clear glass vases and some coordinating scrapbook paper.  It’s a super simple solution for a centerpiece that coordinates perfectly.  Not only is it an inexpensive option, but you can use the same vases over and over for different events so you don’t have to store tons of vases in lots of different colors.   So here’s how it works:

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1. Purchase medium sized cylindrical clear glass vases. (I usually get them from the Dollar Store, but you can find them at craft stores and in floral departments).

2. Print out (or purchase) your coordinating scrapbook paper.  (This is one reason why I usually include digital paper in my printable party kits).  Measure the vases and trim the excess paper  off.

3. Roll the paper into a circle and place inside the vase … I like to tape the ends on the inside just to keep everything nice and tight in the vase.

4. Find a smaller glass or cup (I like juice glasses) that will fit in the vase.  You’ll want to use this to actually hold the water for the vases so that the paper doesn’t get wet.  Arrange your flowers and put them into your juice glass. (Hint: Purchase flowers from floral departments at grocery stores. We have a lovely store by us that will special order the flowers that I want.  Much less expensive than a florist and a much better option for someone like me who knows nothing about flowers or arranging them).

5. Place the juice glass inside the vase… and that’s it!  I like to decorate the vase either with a nice bow (and maybe a cupcake topper hanging from the bow) or in this case, I used some coordinating paper wraps printed on Avery full sheet sticky labels. I also designed some sweet little placemats with fitting biblical quotes for the event, and mixed and mingled the patterns for some extra visual interest.

 

I wish I was able to grab some more photos of Noah’s day.  It’s so hard to grab your camera when you’re taking care of a little one and chasing a toddler around and keeping everyone happy, but overall, it was a fabulous day!  And I’m so glad that my little one got to celebrate with something made just for him.

How & Where to Print Digital Invitations, Stationery & Party Printables

  I get LOTS of questions on printing, and I thought it would be a great idea to put ALL the info in one place!  It’s not hard at all to print party printables, but it certainly helps to know … Continue reading